Sunday, July 28, 2013
Pesto to the Rescue
Everything is going so well with the entry project that I'm not really complaining, but, gee it takes a lot of time to do construction!
Yesterday we removed the old door frame, along with the expandable foam insulation, flashing above, old shims and tar paper. Sweetie did most of the heavy stuff and I scraped off old insulation and did the demo on the flashing and tar paper. Took a good chunk of the day. Thank heavens for things like pre-packaged chili seasoning and already made pesto.
Last night we had my well-loved chili, but the night we had that awesome cheese and cherry tomato salad, we also had a super quick chicken pesto pasta dish. Could never have gotten both on the table without that Fircrest pesto. There were also the quick-fix helpers of fresh pasta from the store, frozen already-grilled chicken, and our own zucchini. Zucchini are so easy to prepare...no peeling!
So while the pasta water came to a boil, the sliced zucchini browned in a cast iron skillet. Once the zucchini came out, in went the frozen chicken strips and chunks. I let them brown, then removed them to sit with the zucchini while I browned some pine nuts. Once the pasta was done and drained, it was easy to put the hot pasta, green pesto, and a little of the pasta cooking water into a bowl and stir to coat the pasta with the pesto. A quick re-heat for a minute in the microwave made sure that the squash and chicken were hot. Into the past bowl they went, along with the pine nuts. After a quick stir to combine it all, I served it up and we enjoyed a fairly gourmet entrée that had taken only about 15 minutes to make.
It's a good recipe for hot weather, too, because you don't really heat up the kitchen much in 15 minutes. If we weren't having that salad with it I would have tossed some halved cherry tomatoes into the pasta at the end.
Pronto Pesto Chicken Pasta with Zucchini and Pine Nuts
Serves 2 - 4
1/2 cup prepared pesto (or to taste) at room temperature
1 package (8 oz.) fresh fettuccini
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into slices
2 cups chicken strips and chunks, pre-cooked and grilled, thawed if frozen
3-4 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir pesto to mix in oil. Set aside.
In a large pot bring water to a boil.
While water is coming to a boil, heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown the zucchini slices in the oil over medium-high heat, turning so that all sides brown as much as possible. Remove from skillet when brown and set aside. If pasta water is boiling, add fresh pasta and set timer for 10 minutes.
Without cleaning the skillet, add the chicken and brown it, about 5 minutes, stirring often. When browned and heated through, remove from skillet and set aside.
Without cleaning the skillet, add pine nuts to the skilled and, stirring frequently, brown them. Take care not because they can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly. Remove from skillet and set aside.
By now the pasta should be cooked. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Place squash and chicken on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 1 minutes.
Place drained pasta in a large, wide bowl. Add the pesto and a tablespoon of the cooking water. Stir. Add more water if necessary so that pesto coats the pasta. Add the heated squash and chicken and the pine nuts. Toss to combine. Serve at once.